The Wonder of Grace

An exposition of Jonah 3:1-10.jonah This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, March 21, 2010.

It is possible to be too familiar with truth, after all familiarity does breed contempt.  Because of our continuous emphasis on grace we can fall into the trap of thinking of grace as “commonplace.”  As something ordinary or pedestrian.  When the truth is grace is anything but common.  It is a most uncommon thing.  Grace is God’s favor.  It is unearned and undeserved.  It must never be taken for granted and must not be thought of as anything other than extraordinary.  But we speak of salvation by grace as though it is expected, worse, as if it is owed.  When the truth is grace is alway surprising.  One great example of God’s surprising grace is found in the Old Testament book of Jonah.

Jonah, a prophet from Galilee, was called to take God’s message to the capital city of the Assyrian empire.  He didn’t want to do that.  Not because they were a wicked and cruel people, though they were.  Not because he feared for his life, though he had every reason to fear.  But because he was afraid that God would be gracious with the Ninevites and forgive them!

So he tried to run away. He booked passage on a ship heading for Tarshish off the northern coast of Spain. He was determined to go as far away from his assignment as possible. But he couldn’t run away from God.
God hurled a great storm on the sea and threatened the ship and all those aboard. Eventually Jonah’s secret is discovered. And rather than go and do what God called him to do – he asked to be thrown overboard! He’d rather die than do the will of God. But God is gracious and spared Jonah. God graciously brought Jonah to repentance. Of course you remember how He did that – a great fish, 3 days and nights.

I guess 3 days and nights in a fish’s belly is a time for some serious reflection! Not much else to do than contemplate your life choices and consider the future. After Jonah repented and found salvation in the Lord – God gave the order and Jonah was delivered to dry land.  That’s were we pick up the story.

Text: Jonah 3:1-10
As we work our way through the third chapter we’ll note a surprising revelation, a definite reversal and an amazing revival.

  1. A Surprising Revelation – 3:1-2
  2. A Definite Reversal – 3:3-4
  3. An Amazing Revival – 3:5-10

This chapter is the great miracle chapter of Jonah not chapter 2!  Because it is here we see the miracle working power of God’s grace.  And we behold the wonder of His grace in His changing the heart of His wayward prophet and transforming a wicked city.

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